The news that many a City fan wished to hear arrived not from Colney this morning – rather from London Colney where Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was holding his own pre-match Press conference.
With the Canaries preparing to travel north for their trip to Sheffield United this weekend, much interest has focussed on the fate of young Gunners starlet Henri Lansbury.
He returned from injury to start last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff – in theory the last game of his loan spell in Norfolk.
Afterwards, Canary boss Paul Lambert admitted that he was keen to arrange a third and final loan deal for the England Under-21 midfielder – one that would see Lansbury stay at Carrow Road until the end of the season.
But while the player himself was keen, said Lambert, the final decision would rest with the ‘main man’ – Gunners chief Wenger.
This morning and Lambert appeared to get the answer he was looking for as Wenger ran down a list of loanees likely to be leaving The Emirates before the January transfer window shuts for good on the Premiership clubs.
Aaron Ramsey, the Mexican Carlos Vela and Lansbury were the three on Wenger’s mind as he sought to find the trio the regular first team football the development of their young, professional careers now demand.
Ramsey – interestingly – may be heading home to Cardiff; further boosting the Bluebirds hopes of forcing their way into one of the two automatic promotion places up for grabs.
“I am considering to give Ramsey one month out on loan, with a possibility of him going to Cardiff,” said Wenger at his pre-match Press conference and reported on the club’s official website, www.Arsenal.com.
“I don’t want [Ramsey] to go to a Premier League club because I want him to finish the season with us. I just look for competition for him,” added the Frenchman.
“There is much interest in [Vela] for a loan, that is what I want to do. We have plenty of clubs who are interested in him. At the end of the day I look for a guarantee [that he will play].
“For him, he has as well to agree to join the club who wants him.
“Henri Lansbury might go on loan as well, [to Norwich].”
Which is all the news that Lambert wanted to hear and enabled the Canaries to confirm the news themselves – albeit subject to the appropriate paperwork going through over the weekend.
The 20-year-old will not, however, for tomorrow’s trip to Bramall Lane; he will, however, be available right up until the end of May – a tour of duty that could cover many a possibility.
Lambert has clearly been pondering long and hard as to the shape of his own squad for the final run-in.
Whether even he would claim that the Canaries are safe from the drop is a moot point, but with the likes of Owain Tudur Jones, Jens Berhel Askou, Matty Gill, Oli Johnson and Luke Daley all heading out of Norfolk on loan, the City chief is focussing down on the 20-odd players who will drive him across that finishing line.
For some – like Johnson – the switch to Yeovil will simply be about getting some game time under his belt as first team chances prove few and far between.
For others – like Askou – sidelined by the four centre-halves favoured above him, the switch to Millwall will be a shop window time; he is out of contract this summer and the message would appear to be plain – that he might need to find a new employer come the autumn as Lambert builds his thinking around Leon Barnett, Elliott Ward, Michael Nelson and the fit-again Zak Whitbread.
Since Norwich last met the Blades, they have a new manager in the shape of Micky Adams. It’ll be his first home game in charge of the strugglers and Lambert is expecting a response from the home faithful.
“I’m sure the crowd will be right behind him,” he told BBC Radio Norfolk. “So it’s going to be a difficult game for us – but I knew that it would be a difficult game for us whether they had a new manager or not.”
At least he has no fresh injuries to report. Nor any further exits – despite much talk of Stephen Hughes heading north to Scotland.
“There’s been one or two things, but nothing’s really materialised and at the moment Stephen is still here,” said Lambert.
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